The ‘Weathering Heights’ and lows of organic farming… by Rod


Do you ever get the weather you want? It’s the road to disappointment - as a farmer - if you let the weather alter your psyche. But it does. The weather dramatically changes what happens on the farm and very quickly a flood can become a desert, freezing cold to stifling heat.

If you had visited the farm three weeks ago, you might not have noticed me, dressed in full army camo gear, just like Arnie in a Schwarzenegger film. The army appears to be the only ones who make wet weather clothing strong enough for this environment. Howling winds, rain and cold - below ten degrees - battered the farm in the month of May, when really the weather should have been quite different. But today, here I am in shorts, my back still feeling the dull warmth from the previous day, cos the ruler, the sun penetrated my little skin, till I could hardly move yesterday!

We are planting leeks and they don’t like the sun. Leeks like rain but they ain’t gonna get it. So the carer in this community, has to provide. That’ll be ME lugging water pipes around to give them the drink they so need.

Is the weather normal or are we experiencing some change?

“Not been right since...” said an older farmer to me once. 

“Since when?” I said.

“Since they put that man on the moon...”

“Do you think they actually put a man on the moon?” I chuckled and replied.

“Dunno,” he said “but tiz awful strange weather.”

That is the challenge within the farm gate, the changing weather patterns are real. Nine inches of rain in May! That’s six times more than the previous 10 years. That followed by flaming June. Plants are like us, too much of one thing is difficult for them to process, but it’s precisely this challenge that keeps me engaged in my tiny farm, producing food for people who are maybe less connected to the soil.

 And next week children return to the farm from their educational centres...